Body work at RCR refers to the various processes of welding & fabrication, sanding, applying fillers & primers, etc. – up to the point of actually painting. While most people have an idea about the types of tasks that body work entails, what they do not realize is that the true difference between a low-end paint job versus a high-end show-quality paint finish; actually begins with the body work. It in the preparation – not just the quality of base-coat and clear-coat paints – that truly sets vehicles apart.
The process of removing imperfections from a section or panel of a vehicle. All components of the body of the vehicle are exposed once media blasting has been performed upon them; rust may have been completely remediated by the blasting process. But for any areas that rust caused metal to “rot” away, sheet metal repairs may need to begin during the rust remediation process (i.e., by cutting out patches of rusted-through areas), and they will continue until all metal panels are rust- and dent-free. Sheet metal repair refers to the actual process of cutting out (or otherwise removing) any imperfect portions of a panel (holes due to rust, dents due to collision, etc...) and then filling and shaping it back to the appropriate shape/size. If the portions removed are small enough, then they can be patched by welding small metal plates of the appropriate size – and then sanded and/or filled to remove any seams. Consequently, very small holes may be filled with an all-metal compound, and then covered and sanded, etc..
Refers to the necessity to replace an entire section, or panel, of a vehicle. This is necessary when the rusted/dented, etc..., areas are either too large or too numerous in any section to simply patch. It may also be necessary if the “bad” portion is an area where a patch would adversely affect the integrity of the panel. Although panels can often be bought to match specific vehicles, these after-market new panels will not typically fit as well as the original ones did; so after welding the panels into place, a series of “fitment” procedures will need to be performed in order to assure that the panel replaced fits seamlessly onto the vehicle (see “Body/Panel Fitment” below).
The process by which sections or panels of a vehicle are made (fabricated) from raw sheet metal. This is necessary when panels of a vehicle are no longer available for purchase – or cannot be found easily or affordably. Other components besides panels may be fabricated for a vehicle, including small brackets and clips – whatever is necessary. RCR will also create molds and fabricate fiberglass components as needed.
Recreating the correct shape/curvature/flare, etc..., necessary for each panel of the vehicle. This process will involve multiple steps that must be repeated until the area is perfect:
1) apply filler as needed;
2) sand (using a motorized sanding tool) with coarse-grit sandpaper;
3) check for perfection;
4) correct continued imperfections with filler;
5) sand again with slightly finer-grit sandpaper;
6) check for imperfections;
7) correct any continued imperfections with slightly finer-grit sandpaper than previously;
8) check for imperfections; repeat until perfect.
Each metal panel of a vehicle will be sanded a minimum of 5 times – each time with finer- and finer-grit sandpaper – and will receive more sandings if more corrections are necessary. High-end quality paint finishes (i.e. “Show Quality”) will require extra sandings at this stage as well as at the final sanding stages; certain colors (black, red) have a greater tendency to show any imperfections at all and will therefore require more sandings at each stage, even for lower-quality finishes.
Making certain that all panels of the body of the vehicle fit together correctly. Once all repaired or fabricated (or purchased) panels are ready, then they must be attached to the body. As stated above (see “Panel Replacement” above), most newly purchased after-market panels will not be an exact fit. Ditto for any panel repaired due to collision issues. Even purchasing original panels for the same model/year vehicle is not a guarantee that those same panels will perfectly fit every vehicle. These classic vehicles did NOT ROLL OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE WITH PERFECT FITMENT! But they will leave RCR with a perfect or near-perfect fit. Fitment requires many painstakingly minute adjustments – throughout the body – just to get one panel to fit perfectly. Adjustments include tightening, loosening, straightening, tilting, applying shims, grinding panels, etc..., until the absolute best fit is achieved. This must be done for each panel – and may have to be re-done, as adjustments to one area affect all other areas.
The final steps before base color paint is applied; applying sandpaper with hand-held applicators called “blocks” and by hand. Much like shaping (see “Shaping & Contouring” above), the relatively simple processes of blocking and sanding must be repeated multiple times with finer-grit sandpapers than each previous step. Exactly how many repetitions will depend upon the final quality of the “finish” that the customer is paying to achieve. “Show quality” paint finishes will require as many as 15 extra sandings more than the average “driver quality” paint job.